Video of rare West African lion cubs sparks hope for the population

Video of rare West African lion cubs sparks hope for the population

New video of a West African lioness and her three cubs is exciting news for the conservation community, sparking hope for the slow recovery of a population perilously close to extinction in Senegal’s Panth (NKNP). The lioness featured in the clips is known to researchers as Florence or “Flo.” She was the first lion fitted with a tracking collar in Senegal by Panthera, a global wild cat conservation organization, and Senegal’s Department of National Parks (DPN). At around 10 years old, she’s considered NKNP’s matriarch. Scientists have been monitoring Flo for several years. So when her GPS collar stopped working, they were concerned she might have been killed by poachers or predators. The team placed camera traps near Flo’s last known location in an attempt to locate her. Photos and videos from the cameras later revealed that not only was Flo still alive, but that while denning in the dense forest, she had given birth to three healthy cubs. Smaller in size and genetically distinct from other lions, West African lions are considered critically endangered. Only an estimated 120 to 374 West African lions remain in the wild. Florence is the mother of an estimated nine cubs, including the first males in NKNP. “When the history of Niokolo Koba’s recovery is written, this moment will mark a turning point and Florence above all others will likely be recognized as the critical driver of West African lion recovery in one of this big cat’s last strongholds,” Panthera regional director Philipp Henschel…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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